is the pride and joy of Caribbean Mexico's snorkeling and diving
communities. Hundreds of dive and snorkeling boats leave port
each day to hit the seemingly endless sites offshore here. Sites
such as Passion Island, Gorgonian Flats, La Villa Blanca
Reef, Pico's Reef, the LaCeiba Reef Preserve, Aeroplane Wreck,
International Pier, Paraiso North and South, Paradise Shallows,
Las Palmas Shallows, Holiday Inn Reef, Chankanaab Underwater Park,
Beachcomber Cavern, and Punta Chiqueros can all be reached from shore,
and all offer a wide variety of life and lots of fish. For those
who want to head out to sea, the fabulous expanses of coral reef known
as Palancar and Columbia await. Perhaps our
best snorkeling experience in Cozumel was outside of our hotel, the
Club. The coral outcroppings made for some really
interesting species, and lots of them! Another highly
recommended snorkeling area is Dzul Ha, just south of the Fiesta
Americana. This is drift snorkeling. You'll want to be
conscious of the current. We didn't have an opportunity to try
this area, but we've heard good things.
also has many sites ideal for snorkeling. Perhaps the best was
at Punta Nizuc, just past
Club Med. Since we were staying next door at
Westin's Club Regina, this worked out very well for us. The
water was very shallow, and the fish were plentiful. We kept
coming face to face with great barracuda in two feet of water, though.
This made us a little bit nervous. Other excellent snorkeling
spots are Cuevenos, northeast of Punta Cancun, El Bajito, north of
Punta Cancun, and Chintales, northwest of Punta Cancun. The
Nizuc Reef can also be snorkeled further out by dive boat, and
Aquaworld has made a floating island there.
Many of the snorkeling tours head over
to Isla Mujeras as well. Tavos Reef, Manchones Reef, and
Manchones Xico are excellent sites that must be reached by boat, but
there are sites such as El Garrafon and Lighthouse that offer
wonderful snorkeling directly from shore.
Isla Contoy is also a snorkeling
destination with somewhat less appeal. Las Calderas, Ixlache
Reef, and Barge Wreck are some of the most popular snorkeling sites
here, but the water is rougher than the other nearby snorkeling
1. Clean your mask before snorkeling
by wetting it, then spitting into it and spreading the saliva around
with your fingers. Then rinse out the mask. This is a
useful tip to prevent the mask from fogging up.
2. Make sure that your hair is not
trapped under the seal of the mask. This will cause the mask to
3. If water gets into the breathing
tube, blow sharply through the tube to expel it.
4. If water gets inside the mask,
breathe in through the snorkel and out through your nose while
pressing the top of the mask against your forehead.
5. Always snorkel with a partner.
6. When diving down, pop your ears by
holding your nose and gently trying to blow out through it. Swallowing
can also help your ears to pop. Make sure to do this gently or
it can rupture your ears!
7. You can buy mask, fins, and snorkel
at home at Costco, Wal-Mart, or the like for a good price, and be
ready to go when you get to vacation! This will also help to
ensure that you get good fitting equipment that won't leak.
8. Most hotels and dive shops rent
snorkeling gear for around $5/day.
9. Remember, sandy beaches are great
for sunning yourself, but rotten for snorkeling. Stick to the
coral and the rocks and you'll see much more sea life.
10. Only Biodegradable Sunscreen is
allowed in parks such as Xel Ha, Xcaret, Garrafon, and Chankanaab,
or on any snorkeling tour in Cancun, the Riviera Maya, or Cozumel.
This is to protect the coral reefs and marine life. Make sure
to pick some up before you leave on your trip to Mexico. For
more information, and to see where you can get Biodegradable
included links to information about the fantastic snorkeling of the
area below. Click on a link to jump to the section that